Drought and heat tolerant perennial Red Hot Poker plants are easy to grow. They will do well in mid-summer heat when other plants have wilted. They are great for arid, and semi-arid areas. You may know Red Hot Poker flowers by another name. It is also called Torch Lily and Poker Plant. The plants are native to warm regions of South Africa. If you are already growing Red Hot Poker flowers, you know how rewarding it is to grow them. If this is your first time, this guide will help you to successfully grow them this year and every year thereafter.
The plants grow two to five feet high, depending upon variety. The leaves are long, thin, and dagger-like. They produce flowered spikes from spring through fall, as long as you deadhead the spent spikes. Flower colors include the ever-popular red (of course!), orange, coral, cream, and yellow. It should come as no surprise that Hummingbirds like the tubular florets.
Red Hot Poker plants look their best when grown in clumps, and display lots of blooms. Importantly, check the height of the variety you purchase, to determine where it best fits in your mixed flower garden. We also suggest they are placed for easy viewing, so you won’t miss the Hummingbirds when they visit!
Plant Height: Plants grow 2 to 5 feet tall.
Plant Hardiness Zones: 6 – 9
Perennial Red Hot Poker plants are grown from seeds. They can be directly seeded into your flower garden or started indoors for transplanting later. Sow Red Hot Poker seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/4″ of fine garden or potting soil. Due to the long germination time, make sure to clearly mark the planting site.
For indoor starts, sow seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost in your area. We recommend planting them in separate peat pots, allowing ample room for root growth. This will make transplanting easier.
Note: We recommend a heated germination mat, to increase the speed of seed germination. Also, the germination rate is higher.
Ideal plant spacing is 18″ -24″. Thin or transplant seedlings, if needed, when they reach 2″. They will tolerate a little crowding.
Established plants can also be propagated by plant division. It is best to do this in the Spring or late Fall. First, dig up the roots. Next, separate them into clumps. Then, replant the clumps in the desired location, with the crowns at or just below the soil level. Finally, keep the soil moist for a few weeks, to help the plants get re-established in their new home.
Days to Germination: Plants sprout in 21 to 28 days.
Red Hot Poker plants are very easy to grow. They like full sun.
Garden Tip: Place Red Hot Poker flowers where they can be seen from a window in your hose. Then, watch the Hummingbirds as they feed on the nectar-laden flowers. They are attracted to the tubular flowers. Red is the best color for attracting Hummingbirds.
The plants prefer loose, rich soil that drains well. It is important to avoid wet soils, as the crowns can rot. Mix in compost when planting, if your soil is not rich.
Add a general-purpose fertilizer when planting them, then once a month after that.
Once your Red Hot Poker is established, it should grow well with few problems. They will grow on their own with little care or attention. Just make sure to view them often, to enjoy their brilliant blooms.
Flower spikes will begin to bloom in the spring. Deadhead the spent spikes, to promote continuous blooms all the way to fall. Remove the entire spike.
Red Hot Poker plants are heat and drought tolerant. But, we do recommend watering them during the driest periods of summer. They will do well in mid-summer heat.
In cold weather areas, add 2-3 inches of mulch before winter to protect the crowns.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5.
Plant Problems – Identify the causes and find the cures.
Perennial Red Hot Poker plants have few insect and disease problems.